Helperby Therapeutics (Helperby), a pioneering British biopharmaceuticals company, have developed a novel answer to the clear and present danger of antimicrobial resistance – Antibiotic Resistance Breakers (ARBs).

Doctors increasingly rely on last resort antibiotics such as carbapenems and colistin, but as harmful bacteria continue to mutate, this final line of resistance will eventually fail.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dedicated World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13-17 November 2017) to ‘Handle Antibiotics With Care’. Helperby’s solution to this critical problem, and ground-breaking innovation, is Antibiotic Resistance Breakers – novel technology that rejuvenates existing antibiotics into long-term effective combination therapies.

WHO has identified the immediate threat from 3 critical priority pathogens for which there is currently limited antibiotic protection: CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), Pseudomonas aeruginosa(Carbapenem-resistant) and Acinetobacter (Carbapenem-resistant). The most dangerous bacteria are CRE, causing severe and often fatal infections such as septicaemia and pneumonia. CRE has spread from Asia into Europe and the US, is epidemic and doubles every two years.

Helperby’s Antibiotic Resistance Breakers rejuvenate existing antibiotics, enabling them to puncture the tough cell wall of CRE and other evolving superbugs to allow existing last-resort antibiotics to effectively do their work.

The ARB rejuvenation process can be performed repeatedly on different combinations of existing antibiotics to outsmart resistance. “New classes of antibiotics are difficult to develop, and none have been marketed for over 30 years,” said Prof Anthony Coates, Chief Scientific Officer of Helperby Therapeutics. “It is therefore imperative we keep existing antibiotics working.”

“We are one of only 6 companies in the world that have new antibiotics in clinical development which are potentially effective against all three of WHO’s critical priority pathogens”, explained Professor Coates.

ARBs are novel, effective and transferable, potentially producing many variants of new antibiotic combination. One ARB can be applied to multiple different classes of antibiotics, reducing the size, time and resource in Phase 3 clinical trials normally required for new chemical entities.

Importantly, Helperby’s solution meets WHO’s four innovation criteria for effective new antibiotic protection: absence of cross-resistance to existing antibiotics, new chemical class, new target and new mechanism of action.

Helperby has two formats of ARB combination currently in development, in six programs, of these three are in clinical trials. “Helperby’s Antibiotic Resistance Breakers are an imminent solution to all three of the critical priority pathogens as identified by the WHO,” added Professor Coates. “We are potentially just 3 – 5 years away from the market.”

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